Writer’s Block is a Lie
Writer’s block is a lie. This isn’t grandstanding. I’m serious.
Let me explain. I don’t mean you are lying. I also don’t mean that writer’s block doesn’t exist.
Nor is writer’s block an area of a neighborhood where writers converge on writing. (If there is such a block, I’d love to visit that neighborhood).
Writer’s block can be described as having trouble moving forward with whatever you’re writing when you hover over the keyboard with your fingertips, and nothing moves. The piece you’re writing is stuck. More importantly, you’re stuck. Why?
Because you’re lying to yourself, you’re trying to write what’s not natural. Trying to force something out that isn’t in you.
I want you to go back in time and remember when the words flowed. When the scene you were writing coursed through your fingertips. Nothing could stop you. Interruptions were annoying. You were in love with what you were doing. You felt excitement and energy as you typed fast. You had great expectations of success. Right at that moment, you felt your readers would love this stuff. It’s something akin to being in the zone. You were a writer in the zone at that moment. You were confident. You believed at that moment. You were good at what you were doing. It was all worth it. There was no struggle to write. No writer’s block to deal with.
What were you writing? What kind of writing was it? Fiction or non-fiction? What was it that got you so energized? How could you be in the zone at one point while writing, but now you suffer from writer’s block?
The difference; when your fingers were tossing the keyboard around, you were writing what was in your heart. The stuff that makes you a writer. You were writing your best material because you were so intimate about it.
Now, examine what you’re scribing when you get blocked. Are you in love with it? Do you feel it in your heart? Seriously, can you say it is the same stuff?
Writing a funny, witty piece with fabulous dialogue, are you? Oh, zipping through it? Wow, good for you. Now, come over here and write up my tax return papers. How excited are you? Can you honestly take the same vim and vigor to the tax paperwork? Or maybe you need to write a twenty-page reply to your ex-spouse’s lawyer.
Back to my original point; writer’s block is a lie because you’re lying to yourself. If you sit down to write something by choice and have writer’s block, you have to choose something else to write. It isn’t in your heart to write that piece. If you force yourself and continue through it, the material won’t be top-grade stuff. It can’t be. Remember, your best stuff was when it flowed with ease.
This is a topic that almost every writer has had to deal with. Only those who are true to themselves deal with writer’s block less.
Any writer who has felt the full force of writer’s block knows how debilitating the feeling can be. It makes you feel that you can’t write. You can’t move forward. But that would be a lie because you actually can write. What have you done so far? You wrote some great stuff in other works, which proves you can write.
Here are a few suggestions to get rid of writer’s block;
- Stop—write something else. Spend time writing in your journal or writing a letter. Take a period of time away from the “stuck” stuff. Let things cool. Ruminate. Maybe come back to it, maybe not.
- Stop completely—file that blocked stuff away and don’t return to it. Write what comes out easier. Write what empowers you. Listen to your inner voice (not the ones in your head-they can be scary) and write what you’re best at.
- Change P.O.V.—get out of that character’s head and get into someone else’s. Or change from third person to first person or vice versa.
- Evaluate—why are you writing topics that stop you? Isn’t life too short to waste time on things you force out? Look at what motivates you. Is the struggle worth it? Figure it out and stop denying yourself. Stop lying to yourself.
You are too valuable to let this get you down. Think prosperous thoughts. Get past being stuck. Don’t quit, no matter what. Seek advice if you have to.
I once read that the greatest limitation is the fear of failure. Belief in failure is a way of poisoning the mind. When we store negative emotions, we affect our physiology, thinking process, and state. Writer’s block is a form of this.
You’re a writer. So write.